This week, Anthony Bourdain bundles up - then bundles up again - to head to the Great White North where he finds nostalgia for the cuisine ancienne in the French-speaking province of Quebec.
Amid the snow, ice fishing, rogue hockey games and beaver snaring, he finds a deeply impassioned community, hell-bent on preserving their francophone identity that is culturally, spiritually and linguistically different from the rest of Canada.
Chef Martin Picard of Au Pied de Cochon, and David McMillan and Frédéric Morin of Joe Beef share their pride and affection for the old world charm of their beloved land and show Bourdain how they honor the tradition of the French table.
As McMillan says, "You always have to travel well and eat properly."
Dive into the food that Bourdain and guests enjoy in the episode:
This green, herbal liqueur, nicknamed the "elixir of long life," has been made by Carthusian monks in the French Alps since the 18th century. The formula for this centuries-old spirit, made from approximately 130 herbs, plants and flowers, is so prized that no one monk knows the whole recipe; three monks are responsible for three separate parts of the recipe.
Choucroute garnie, or "dressed sauerkraut," is a heaping platter of juniper-simmered sauerkraut, pork products and boiled potatoes. This hearty Alsatian dish is - in typical French fashion - meant to be served with a quality, whole-grain mustard. It's a meaty dose of comfort food for the frigid days of the Canadian winter.
Époisses de Bourgogne
Warning: This cheese is intensely stinky. What it has in odor, though, it matches in flavor. This French raw cow's milk cheese is intensely creamy with complex, salty and meaty flavors. Scoop it on a baguette and prepare to be knocked over.
This classic, show-stopping rectangular cake alternates layers of hazelnut and almond meringue between chocolate buttercream. Fernand Point, chef of the legendary La Pyramide in Vienne, France, is credited with the creation and popularization of this ornate, multi-layered dessert.
Homard à la Parisienne
This dish gained traction via the Dinner of Three Emperors at Café Anglais in Paris, France, in 1867. The creation, by Adolphe Dugléré, features cold, boiled lobster served in its shell alongside vegetables in a creamy, mayonnaise-like dressing. The lobster is elaborately sliced; presentation is everything.
Lièvre à la royale
A wild hare (the "lièvre" part) is deboned and typically cooked in a jus of red wine, shallots, garlic, thyme and its own blood. The cooked hare is then set atop potato purée before the red wine-blood sauce is spooned over it. The whole dish is then lavishly garnished with slabs of seared foie gras and a shaving of black truffles. It's a rather royal affair, indeed.
Maple snow taffy
Also referred to as "sugar on snow," maple syrup is heated then poured over packed snow or shaved ice. As the hot syrup drizzles down the snow, it hardens into a chewy, taffy-like consistency before being twisted onto a wooden Popsicle stick for sucking and chewing. Sweet!
Oeufs en gelée
This vintage dish of poached eggs in aspic (a clear gelatin) is a cold buffet classic.
Mild, sweet Dover sole is pan-fried in brown butter. In old-school establishments, the fish is typically sautéed and filleted tableside. Serve with lemon wedges and let the delicate flakes melt in your mouth.
This is Quebec's version of a savory, stick-to-your-ribs meat pie. Minced, spiced meat is covered and baked into a flaky, buttery crust. The dish is named such because it was originally made with tourte, or passenger pigeon, which has since become extinct. Nowadays, most variations of tourtière use ground pork and are typically served during the winter holidays. Eat, drink and be meaty!